Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Girl

Writer and director David Riker followed his debut a decade later with this heart wrenching drama about the human aspect of illegal immigration. A single mother's desperate attempt to regain custody of her son attempts smuggling illegal immigrants across the border with devastating consequences. Riker approaches the illegal immigration with a different approach which makes its impact even more powerful because it deals about desperate acts and its consequences. Abbie Cornish stars with a terrific performance which shows her range as an actress who still haven't had her breakthrough yet. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Directing team of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman took for their second narrative feature on the story of Linda Lovelace. A young woman with strict upbringing falls prey for a man who uses and abuses her before she becomes infamous for the adult film "Deep Throat" and her life afterwards where she confronts her notorious past. Epstein and Friedman go behind the scenes to bring the true story of Linda Lovelace which tells her story from her point of view. Amanda Seyfried stars and delivers a powerful performance in the lead. The stellar supporting cast includes the ever reliable Peter Sarsgaard with another terrific performance as well as an unrecognizable Sharon Stone in a knockout performance, a touching Robert Patrick, Juno Temple, James Franco and Chris Noth amongst many others. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


French writer and director Gilles Bourdos brings the world of the Renoirs to the screen with this dazzling period drama. South of France at the end of World War I, a young woman becomes the muse for the famous father and son, the legendary painter at the end of his career and his son before his legendary career as a filmmaker. Bourdos' fills the screen like Renoir, the painter that suits the film and gives it a haunting look with its sun drenched scenery and lush details evoking the work of Renoir, the filmmaker. Veteran actor Michel Bouquet stars with terrifically nuanced performance as the elder while newcomer Vincent Rottiers shines as the younger. The supporting cast includes Christa Theret, Thomas Doret and Romane Bohringer. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dead Man Down

Danish director Niels Arden Oplev follows his international breakout film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" with this intricate thriller that reunites him with Noomi Rapace. A man shattered by tragedy plans to seek revenge of those responsible but his plans are interrupted by an equally scarred woman with her own plans of revenge. Oplev has opted for a convoluted script that pays off in some levels but becomes too ambitious for its own sake as he struggles to finds the right balance with complicated characters and multiple twists. Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace star with conflicting performances where he represents the American hero ready for action and she the complicated European character slowing down the action at every corner. The surprising supporting case includes a terrific Dominic Cooper, an utterly wasted Isabelle Huppert and a bland Terrence Howard. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Bling Ring

Writer and director Sofia Coppola returns to LA for another tale about the culture of celebrity. A group of celebrity obsessed teenagers take their obsession to the next level by breaking into their idols homes which gets them their own 15 minutes of fame. Coppola's fascination seems valid since she's looking from the other side but the film proves hardly a challenge to enhance her career. It's as shallow as the subjects and their celebrity idols like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton who looks classy in comparison. Emma Watson leads the ensemble with a solid performance which shows the most range for obvious reasons. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Legendary writer and director Francis Ford Coppola delivered his worst film in decades with his latest film. A second rate and washed out writer finds himself inspired in a small town where his idol Edgar Allen Poe once visited and appears in his dreams helping to find himself. Coppola's poorly written and directed disaster leaves a bitter aftertaste which proves the master should retire or at least stay away from writing his own screenplays which hasn't helped him in his late career renaissance. Val Kilmer stars and looks the part with an equally terrible performance. The supporting cast fares better but can't overcome the poor script which includes Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning and Ben Chaplin. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Friday, November 15, 2013


Spanish writer and director Pablo Berger's second feature adapts the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale of Snow White and sets it in Spain of 1920's. After tragedy hits her famous bullfighter father, young Carmen must suffer the abuse of her evil stepmother before becoming a bullfighter herself with the help of seven dwarfs. Berger's silent film treatment works well for the story which gives the classic story a new and fresh twist that's enhanced by the exotic location and stunning black and white cinematography. It would have gotten more recognition if "The Artist" didn't steal the accolades a year earlier for a similar treatment. Maribel Verdú stars and shines as the evil step mother while Sofía Oria and Macarena García are perfectly cast as the younger and older version of Snow White. The supporting cast includes Daniel Giménez Cacho and Ángela Molina. 1001 Films' coverage of film on DVD. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lola Versus

Writer and director Daryl Wein's second feature traces the insecurities of a young woman in this comedy. A young woman who's happily engaged to be married sees her world crashing when her fiancee gets cold feet. Wein and co-writer Zoe Lister Jones try hard to make film cute and adorable which shows in the writing and performances. Greta Gerwig stars and gives her best but is limited by the material as are the rest of the cast which includes Joel Kinnaman, Hamish Linklater, Zoe Lister Jones, Bill Pullman and criminally wasted Debra Winger. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Argentinian writer and director Andrés Muschietti adapted his own short film for his feature debut thanks to producer Guillermo del Toro. After several years a man finds his nieces who were abandoned in remote house where they were raised by a supernatural being which prevents them to bond with their new guardians. While the story is far fetched, it works within the genre but Muschietti struggles to find the right balance which derails the film in the last act. Jessica Chastain stars and successfully plays against type along with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, however the youngsters, Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse make the most impression. 1001 Films coverage of films on DVD. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Frances Ha

Writer and director Noah Baumbach returned with sixth feature which is a comedy set in contemporary New York. A twenty-something and happy-go-lucky woman tries to find herself in New York where she meets several quirky characters. Baumbach uses the French New Wave for inspiration for the look and feel of the film which equally adds and distracts depending on the viewers perspective. It camera work and editing helps the fragmented story line but the black and white look and use of the classic score by George Delerue makes you nostalgic for original films which this film desperately tries to cling on. The saving grace is the co-writer and lead actress, Great Gerwig who finally hits a home run with her character which she has played similar versions in her previous performances. The supporting cast ranges from good to mediocre which are mostly used for comic relief rather than actual characters. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Square

Egyptian director Jehane Noujaim latest documentary captures history and puts the Arab Spring in perspective from the Egyptian point of view. An inside look of the Arab Spring when it reached Egypt, where the Tahrir Square became the centre of the revolution which brought down the Mubarak regime and give people a taste of their power but its after effects proved even more difficult for many when the political scene became more convoluted. Noujaim was at the center of the revolution and captured the events as they were unfolding which gives the documentary immediacy and kinetic energy that should become a time-capsule for an historic chapter in the Egyptian history. 1001 Films' coverage of upcoming releases.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Crystal Fairy

Chilean writer and director Sebastián Silva made this odd road movie about two offbeat American characters. A self-absorbed American man accidentally invites a free spirited American woman on a journey to find a magical cactus which puts them odds before they discover their true selves. The Chilean characters are cool and more interesting but Silva is interested in the quirky and exotic Americans which is the focus of his film which he prefers to dissect. Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffmann star with effective performances as the ugly Americans abroad who are annoying and obnoxious most of the time they battle each other. Agustín Silva and Juan Andrés Silva are more appealing as the patient friends who are too cool to be bothered. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Strangers by the Lake

French writer and director Alain Guiraudie got his international breakthrough with his six feature which is an erotic thriller. A gay man falls for a dangerous man he meets at cruising spot where a murder has been committed. Guiraudie's original and compelling thriller set in a unique location that becomes a character in the story which adds plenty of menacing atmosphere to the story. Pierre Deladonchamps stars with a nuanced and brave performance that's void of any cliche which usually plagues gay characters in cinema. The supporting cast includes Christophe Paou with an equally solid performance. 1001 Films' coverage of French Cinema Now.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Michael Kohlhaas

French writer and director Arnaud des Pallières adapts the classic novella by Heinrich von Kleist by setting it in France in the 16th century. When a horse dealer takes a case of abuse to the authorities, he's refused justice which forces him to rise against them which spreads like wild fire throughout the country when others join him in his fight for justice. The influential novel by Kleist which inspired the likes of Franz Kafka, gets a powerful film which Pallières brings smashing effect to the screen. Mads Mikkelsen stars with another terrific performance that proves what a great character actor he's. The supporting cast includes Bruno Ganz, Denis Lavant, David Kross, Roxane Duran, David Bennent and Sergi López. 1001 Films' coverage of French Cinema Now

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Australian writer and director Morgan O'Neill teamed with director Ben Nott for this drama about the early days of surf industry. In 1970's Australia, two surfing brothers battle the odds, banks and criminals to establish their dream to turn surfing into a profitable industry with a help of a photographer. Inspired by true events, O'Neill and Nott have a created a decent surfing film with a potent story that loses its allure with the use of cliches which undermines its potential of something special. Myles Pollard and Xavier Samuel stars with decent performances whose surfing skills gives the film authenticity. The supporting cast includes Robyn Malcolm, Sam Worthington and Lesley-Ann Brandt. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Purge

Writer and director James DeMonaco's second feature blends some horror and sci-fi elements for this thriller. Set in the near future where the government allows its citizens to commit murder for 12 hour period, a family find themselves threatened when their son allows a victim to take refuge in their home. DeMonaco takes the home invasion formula and adds some sci-fi elements mostly to set the story up without giving a broader perspective. It has some effective scenes but nothing more. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey star and are overqualified for the roles which puts the film above the norm of the genre. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Writer and director Gabriela Cowperthwaite exposes the gruesome abuse of killer whales in amusement parks in this documentary. Amusement parks like Sea World for decades have been abusing animals for profit which is exposed in this documentary where a killer whale has killed three people, revealing a troubling truth about the animals in captivity. Cowperthwaite uses archival footage and former trainers and animal handlers who witnessed the abuse for years which should expose and end the captivity of this magnificent animals who are viciously captured and abused for profit by scrupulous companies like Sea World. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD.

Monday, November 4, 2013


French writer and director Claire Denis returns with another complex drama that explores the shifting nature of truth. A man returns to Paris to avenge the death of his brother-in-law, only to find the truth is more devastating as he imagined. Vincent Lindon stars with a solid performance along with Chiara Mastroianni, Julie Bataille,  Michel Subor and Lola Créton. Denis' frequent collaborators Alex Descas and Grégoire Colin appear in the supporting cast as well as co-writer Jean-Pol Fargeau, cinematographer Agnès Godard and Tindersticks providing the score. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hyde Park on Hudson

British director Roger Michell delivered another fine film with this period drama. The relationship between President Roosevelt and a distant cousin of his is explored during the visit of the King and Queen of England. Michell and writer Richard Nelson show a historic event through an intimate view which allows the characters to shine. The stellar cast includes Bill MurrayLaura LinneyOlivia Williams, Samuel West and Olivia Colman which the film standout. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg took on the inspiring tale of explorer Thor Heyerdal for their third feature. After failing to get his theory recognized, scientist and explorer Thor Heyerdal travels in 1947, 4300 miles across the Pacific ocean to prove that South American may have populated Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. Rønning and Sandberg trace the incredible adventure which seemed like madness but inspired the world that it could be done. It's an inspiring film about the human spirit which makes entertaining as well as informative. The solid cast and crew have created a timeless classic. 1001 Films' coverage of films on DVD. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

12 Years a Slave

British director Steve McQueen delivers another masterpiece with his third feature which is another case study based on a true story. The story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from the North who's tricked and sold as a slave in the South where he endures twelve years of unimaginable horrors as a slave. McQueen takes his unflinching approach to show the savagery of slavery which is shocking and unforgettable at the same time. It's his most accomplished and accessible film which shows an ugly side of American history that no American director have managed to show. It's a heartbreaking and shattering experience and puts a perspective to a past that has haunted the country ever since.
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars and delivers a towering performance which he has shown again and again in a distinguished career. Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o stand out with riveting performances amongst a stellar cast that includes Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt amongst many others. The film marks also the third collaboration between McQueen, Fassbender, cinematographer Sean Bobbitt and editor Joe Walker. 1001 Films' coverage of current releases.